The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

The Great Conspiracy

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The Great Conspiracy, the second long-player from the Los Angeles-based Peanut Butter Conspiracy, was much more a reflection of their live sound than their debut effort, the pop-driven Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading (1967). Around 1964, the quintet was literally born from the Ashes (another burgeoning L.A. rock combo whose personnel featured soon-to-be Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden). After solidifying their lineup, they inked a deal with Columbia Records, which assigned staff producer Gary Usher to work with them. His well-meaning but over-the-top production style diffused the band, which came off sounding more like the Mamas & the Papas than the Jefferson Airplane or It's a Beautiful Day -- both of whom also sported female lead singers. However, by the time of this release the Conspiracy were sonically asserting themselves with a decidedly hipper approach. This is especially evident on the stretched-out and psychedelic "Too Many Do" and the deliciously trippy "Ecstasy" -- which sports frenzied and wiry fretwork similar to that of Quicksilver Messenger Service string man John Cipollina. Equally inspired are "Lonely Leaf" and the somewhat paranoid and darkly guilded "Time Is After You." These contrast with the somewhat ersatz hippie fodder "Turn on a Friend (To the Good Life)," the 38-second throwaway "Invasion of the Poppy People," or the simply wretched "Captain Sandwich." [In 2000 the Collectables reissue label coupled both The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading and The Great Conspiracy on a single CD. Also included were the 45-rpm sides "I'm a Fool" and "It's So Hard" as well as the previously unissued track "Peter Pan."]

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